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CTC Aviation celebrates 25 years with largest ever graduation ceremony

Flybe CEO Saad Hammad congratulates new pilots at CTC Aviation’s largest ever graduation ceremony

Global airline pilot training and resourcing organisation, CTC Aviation, held its largest ever annual airline pilot graduation ceremony on Thursday 10 December 2015.

226 graduate pilots were joined by family members, friends and VIP guests from flying charity Aerobility, Middlesex University, Buckinghamshire New University, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the British Women’s Pilot Association, as well as senior industry figures from easyJet, British Airways, Monarch Airlines, Thomson, Flybe, BA CityFlyer and Qatar Airways.

Guests attended a daytime graduation ceremony hosted by CTC Aviation’s President Rob Clarke and Flybe CEO Saad Hammad, followed by a celebration ball the same evening; both held in a grand marquee at the company’s Airline Resourcing and Selection Centre – Dibden Manor, in the New Forest.

75% of this year’s graduates are already flying or about to start operating for one of CTC Aviation’s Airline Partners such as easyJet, British Airways, BA CityFlyer,,Thomas Cook, Ryanair and Monarch Airlines, as well as Flybe.

Graduates of CTC Aviation’s programmes CTC WINGS, CTC TAKEOFF and the CTC FLEXICREW ATP Programme were congratulated on their achievements by the guest of honour Saad Hammad, CEO of Flybe.

Speaking at the event, Mr Hammad said – “It is an absolute pleasure to extend Flybe’s congratulations to every member of this impressive group of newly graduated pilots and especially to those who will be joining us soon at Europe’s largest regional airline. Flybe and CTC Aviation share the same philosophy. We are both equally determined to ensure that tomorrow’s pilots are offered the very best, airline-focused training. Every one of the graduates here today has aspired to and met, if not exceeded, the exceptionally high standards demanded of them. We are delighted to give them such a great start to their careers and look forward to welcoming them into our pilot workforce with true Flybe Purple Passion!”

A number of this year’s graduates have been placed with Flybe directly through CTC Aviation’s flagship airline pilot career programme CTC WINGS. In February 2015 CTC Aviation also launched the inaugural CTC WINGS MPL airline pilot career programme in partnership with Flybe – with the airline contributing £23,760 towards the cost of training. 6 trainee pilots are currently completing this career programme and Flybe continues to offer placement opportunities for graduates of all CTC Aviation’s programmes.

CTC Aviation’s dedicated graduate placement team facilitates placement opportunities for a record 98% of its graduates. The company’s current placement activity suggests that those not yet placed with an Airline Partner will commence their first flying roles within 3 to 6 months.

Since its launch in 2003, CTC Aviation’s airline pilot career programme route, CTC WINGS has seen training numbers increase dramatically year–on-year, with a total growth – based on annual enrolment numbers – of 728% over the last 12 years.

Rob Clarke, President of CTC Aviation also spoke at the event – “Our success over the last 25 years comes down to one key thing – our airline partner relationships. We are honoured to be able to deliver pilot training and resourcing to airlines around the world. For our graduates, this means we are able to offer even more career opportunities. We are focussed on driving diversity; we’ve been supporting our airline partners – as well as spearheading our own campaign – to provide greater opportunities to a wider audience overall. A key aspect of this campaign is to endeavour to attract more women into our industry. We’re noticing an increased level of interest already, and we are delighted to see triple the number of women graduating this year compared to last; but we’re determined to see that number continue to rise.”

Special awards were presented by Mr Hammad during the ceremony to the highest achieving graduates:
The CTC Wings Ground School Award
Presented annually for outstanding performance in ground school
The 2015 winner of the CTC WINGS ground school award was Thomas Gardner, British Airways. Runner up was Robert Kane, Qatar Airways.

The CTC Aviation Graduate Pilots of the Year Award
Presented annually to the highest performing CTC WINGS Integrated ATPL and MPL graduate pilots who have shown true commitment to excellence throughout all phases of training. The 2015 winner of the CTC WINGS Integrated ATPL Graduate Pilot of the Year award was Omer Sozer, British Airways. Runner up was Lee O’Brien, easyJet. The 2015 winner of the CTC WINGS MPL Graduate Pilot of the Year award was Kieran McTaggart, easyJet. Runner up was Martin Delahaye, easyJet.

Women Flying Forward in Aviation
CTC Aviation has trained and placed over 100 women as co-pilots with airlines around the world. Currently around 8% of CTC Aviation’s trainee pilots are women. Although this is above the world average, the company is determined to see that number rise and has been actively promoting the career to encourage more women to follow this career path.

Already, CTC Aviation is exhibiting an increased level of interest – 19 women graduated this year; more than triple the number who graduated in 2014. Many of those are already flying with airlines, having secured places on some of the most competitive Airline Partner programmes for British Airways and Qatar Airways as well as being placed with easyJet, BA CityFlyer, Flybe and Monarch Airlines.

Graduating with honours
The 2015 graduation was the first to see those working towards a BSc (Hons) Degree in Professional Aviation Pilot Practice graduate – and continue into their third and final year of study during airline employment. This is a specialised degree developed by CTC Aviation, Middlesex University and the Aviation Skills Partnership and delivered exclusively by CTC Aviation in partnership with Middlesex University; allowing aspiring pilots to train full-time on a CTC WINGS airline pilot career programme – whilst also working towards a degree.

Graduates Anna McGrady, Matthew Archer and Steven Hadley were the very first CTC WINGS trainees to sign up to the degree in early 2014 and have now been placed with long-standing Airline Partner, easyJet. easyJet was the very first airline to support this ground-breaking programme following an announcement by their CEO Carolyn McCall at CTC Aviation’s annual graduation in December 2013. Today, over 50 trainee airline pilots are enrolled on the programme whilst training towards their airline pilot career with CTC WINGS.